Research shows that about 15 percent of North American children are severely overweight or obese. Which can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
So, schools in Orlando, Florida are taking part in a research study. One that's designed to discover whether school cafeterias can serve more nutritious food on a limited budget. Researchers are also hoping that kids who are exposed to healthier food options will eat healthier all their lives.
So, you won't find any chicken nuggets or pizza in these cafeterias. Students are getting all kinds of substitutions, like: Whole-wheat bread instead of white. Baked chicken instead of fried. Sweet potatoes instead of regular spuds. And no French fries whatsoever. And for dessert - it's all fruit, all the time.
And what are the results? The new menus were slow to catch on at first. In fact, at the beginning of the year, half of the students refused to eat lunch at all if it was healthy. But now, only 15 percent insist on eating their regular fatty fare.
However, a lot of the kids are trying things they never would have eaten before. And surprise! - they actually like them! The results on health and weight loss won't be in until the end of the school year. But when the new test results are compared to the students' beginning-year height, weight, blood pressure, and resting pulse rate, supporters expect improvement. And we'll definitely keep you posted!